Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: With COVID-19 cases increasing in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the Odisha government on Thursday issued guidelines that will remain force for Durga Puja, Laxmi Puja, Kali Puja and similar Puja during September, October and November this year in the State.
In an earlier order passed on August 31, the State government had ordered that all places of worship will remain closed for public till September 30 throughout the State.
“For conducting Puja in puja pandals/mandaps, the organisers shall apply to and obtain the necessary permission from the District Magistrate or any other authorised officer authorized by him or her,” the government said in its new guidelines.
“For the area under Commissionerate of Police of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, such permission shall be given by the Commissionerate of Police of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar or any other officer authorised by him/her.”
“Puja(s) shall be conducted in indoor-like condition only for the observance of rituals without public participation, pomp and grandeur,” the order said.
According to the order, “puja pandals/mandaps shall be covered on three sides. The 4th side shall also be covered in a way not to allow any public view of idols. There shall be no darshan by public/devotees”.
“The size of idol shall be less than 4 feet” and “there shall be no use of the public address system”.
At any point of time, there shall not be more than 7 persons including the organisers (Kartas) and priests and support staff present in the puja pandal/mandap.
The persons present at puja pandal/mandap shall follow Covid protocols of social distancing, mask use, personal hygiene and sanitation issued by Central/State government/local administration in letter and spirit.
The organisers and other persons involved in conducting the puja shall abide by any other condition(s) as imposed by the local administration/appropriate authority.
There shall be no immersion procession. The idols will be immersed in artificial pond(s) created by local administration for the purpose.
There shall be no music or any other entertainment programme.
All the District Magistrates/Municipal Commissioners/Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack shall strictly enforce the above guidelines, the order said.
Penal provisions: Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with the provisions of Section 1 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and regulations issued thereunder besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable, the government said in the order.